Pacific Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives May 11 1983, Page 9

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Pacific Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - May 11, 1983, Tokyo, JapanWednesday May 11, 1983 education Pacific stars and stripes prominent figures rap schools 9 by Edward b. Fiske . Times Raleigh . A group of 41 governors corporate leaders and other prominent figures asserted the poor Quality of american Public schools was threatening the military economic and social Well being of the country. We have expected too Little of our schools Over the past two decades and we have gotten too Little declared the National task Force on education for economic growth last week. The result is that our schools Are not doing an adequate Job of educating for today s requirements in the workplace much less tomorrow speaking with what it called an unusual sense of urgency the group called for deep and lasting change in the american educational system to put the country on a Par with Japan and other economic competitors. Among the changes were these higher salaries for teachers and a change in the fundamental salary Structure to permit higher pay for teachers who have reached the upper Levels of seniority and effectiveness. Longer school Days and the integration of technology into the classroom so As to extend the reach of teachers. Re examination of lifetime tenure for teachers and modification of state certification rules to allow qualified persons from business and else where to teach in Public schools. More effective partnerships Between Industry and the Public schools. The group was established under the auspices of the education commission of the states a National association of state government and education officials. The principal moving Force was gov. James b. Hunt or. Of North Carolina the current chairman of the commission who has made the improvement of education a major priority in his Home state. The co chairmen Are Frank Gary the former chairman of ism and gov. Pierre s. Dupont in of Delaware. Other members of the group include prominent figures from Industry labor education and the scientific Community. Among them Are gov. Thomas Kean of new Jersey j. Fred Bucy the president of Texas instruments William c. Norris chairman of control data corp. And Glenn e. Watts president of the communication workers of America. The panel s action represented the second time within a week that a prominent group of citizens had criticized the american educational system. Earlier the National commission on excellence in education appointed by Secretary of education . Bell said american schools were characterized by a rising tide of it too called for longer school Days improved teacher salaries and other reforms. Albert Shanker president of the american of Edward Donohue 18, shows the diploma he state but his Mother and father say he can received from Copiague High school in new York barely read and write. Up federation of teachers said that teachers and their unions should cooperate in reforming the country s educational system even if it meant changes that teachers had previously resisted. At its meeting in Raleigh the National task Force unanimously approved the substance of its recommendations. The final text will be released this summer. The report chronicled a series of deficiencies in american elementary and High schools. Among other things it cited reports that 40 to 50 percent of All Urban students have serious Reading prob lems and that More than a Quarter of mathematics teachers Lack certification. A major theme of the document was that Japan and other countries have Superior educational systems. Approximately 95 percent of japanese teen agers now graduate from High school com pared with 74 percent in the United states the document declared. Because Japan s schools Are in session five and a half Days a week and because the japanese school year is longer than ours the typical japanese High school graduate has the equivalent of roughly four full years More than an american High school graduate. Noting that technological innovations will re quire an even More sophisticated work Force in the future the panel said that such educational deficiencies constitute a major threat to the Well being of the country. If we Are serious about economic growth in America about improving productivity about recapturing competitiveness in our Basic Indus tries and maintaining it in our newer industries about guaranteeing to our children a decent Standard of living and a rewarding Quality of life then we must get serious about improving Educa Tion the members declared. And we must Start the panel said that attracting better people to the teaching profession is critical. It described current salary Levels As symbolic of the Low value that our society places upon elementary and secondary school teaching and called upon states not Only to increase teachers salaries generally but to look for ways to provide extraordinary rewards for extraordinary teachers. Teachers unions have resisted the concept of offering some teachers additional Merit pay on the ground that it is easily abused by principals and school boards and during the discussion in Raleigh Watts of the communications workers Union emphasized that the primary problem to be addressed is the abysmal pay of All teachers. Another controversial topic was the role of the Federal government in solving the educational crisis. Several Republican governors took the position that the focus should be on what state and local communities can do. The Federal government should have no More to say about education than we do about National defense said gov. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Others however urged a Strong statement of Washington s obligation to provide leadership if not necessarily Money. Teachers unions partly blamed for crisis new York up teachers unions and education associations that protect the weakest teachers Bear some responsibility for the fail ure of the nation s Public schools a major task Force has reported. The report from the 20th Century fund task Force on Federal Educa Tion policy is the first from any major group to say collective bargaining carried out under Union and Educa Tion association sponsorship has resulted in Protection for the weakest teachers rather than winning re wards for the the task Force also said that Only a National commitment to excellence in the Public schools can Avert a threatened National estimated 2 million of the nation s 2.2 million school teachers belong to a Union or education association that bargains for con tracts. The National education association with 1.6 million Mem Bers is the largest. Unions grow scores slide the task Force proposed that the Federal government set up a master teacher s award program to raise Quality. Super teachers in each state would be paid $40,000 a year above ceilings for teachers Over five years. Cost would run As High As $5 billion a year by the fifth year. Teachers unions and education associations have grown Over the last 15 years a period marked by a deep slide in Scholastic aptitude test scores and other indicators of school performance. Of the unions and education associations the task Force said they have protected the principle of equal pay or at Best a differential pay scale that primarily takes into account educational background and seniority thereby limiting the Finan Cial incentives available for Reward ing Superior professional work. The collective bargaining process moreover has not Only made it difficult to encourage promising teachers or dismiss poor ones it has forced Many of the Best to leave teaching for More financially Reward ing work. The result is that the Quality of teaching says bargaining can work the task Force said deterioration in Quality is probably greatest in specialized subjects most markedly in mathematics and science. Collective bargaining has served teachers and the Public by improving working conditions and compensation and we do hot want to see it abandoned the task Force said. But both the Public and teachers would be even better served if the opposing sides in the bargaining process the unions and local school boards realized that Merit based systems and collective bargain ing Are not the task Force is headed by Robert Wood former Secretary of health education and welfare and the director of Urban studies at the University of Massachusetts. The twentieth Century fund is an Independent research foundation that undertakes policy studies of economic political and social institutions and issues

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